Druze Council Head, Suspected of Murder, Arraigned as Victim Buried

Salman Amar, according to eyewitness testimony, shot Munir Nabuani several times during a fight in front of the council building, two hours before he turned himself in.

Head of the Julis local council, Salman Amar the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, September 6, 2016.
Moti Milrod

The Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court extended by a week the remand of the head of the Julis local council, Salman Amar, who is charged with murdering local resident Munir Nabuani, with whom he had a dispute. Nabuani was buried Tuesday afternoon.

The incident happened Monday morning outside the Julis council building, when there was a confrontation between the two. Nabuani was critically wounded in the shooting and died a short time later. Two hours later, Amar, accompanied by his lawyer, turned himself in.

The attorney, Basil Falah, said after the hearing that the court refused the prosecutor’s request to extend his client’s remand by 15 days, “and ruled that the police are investigating the claim of self-defense.”

Eyewitnesses said Nabuani, a garden contractor, arrived at the council building wielding a wooden rod, blocked Amar’s car and confronted him before being shot. Falah told Haaretz that two weeks ago Nabuani came to the building and claimed that Amar owed him money, attacked Amar and injured him in the hand, which has since been bandaged. Police were called to the scene, but “the council head preferred to perform a reconciliation ceremony because the other man was a village resident.”

“The council head asserted that he acted out of self-defense,” Falah said, adding that Amar fired several times because “it is impossible to count bullets when someone is acting instinctively,” citing the recent case of the farmer from Moshav Beit Elazari. “It is impossible to judge a man whose life was threatened like a person sitting at home. This is a man whose life was endangered. This man was a regiment commander and was in the Lebanon War. He went through a lot of things in his life.”

In wake of the killing, a reconciliation committee that includes heads of the Druze local authorities, Druze Knesset members and community spiritual leaders has been established.

Thousands of mourners and religious leaders partook in Nabuani’s funeral Tuesday. The Druze community’s spiritual leader, Sheikh Mowafak Tarif, led the funeral procession.

Amar’s immediate family left the village during the funeral, as the reconciliation committee had agreed upon. They reportedly went to the Druze town Daliat al-Carmel. The rest of the clan, however, was allowed to stay in the village, and some of them even attended the funeral.

Officials in Julis have begun thinking about how the council will operate in wake of the incident. It is unclear when, if ever, Amar will return to being the council head.

Naziya Nabuani, a council member and relative of the victim, told Haaretz that in consultation with the Interior Ministry it was decided to close the council until the end of the Id al-Adha (feast of the sacrifice) next week, and after the mourning and holiday is over the next steps to run the council will be decided upon.

Meanwhile, the school system in Julis tried to return to normal on Tuesday. Psychologists and counselors visited Julis classrooms, helping teachers explain the tragic event, which was unprecedented for Julis.

Amar, the Julis council head, is a former Israel Defense Forces officer who worked as a security consultant after leaving the army and was involved in a variety of businesses in Israel and abroad. He has a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminology from Bar-Ilan University and Master’s degrees from the University of Belgrano in Argentina and the University of Leicester in the U.K. In 1997, he founded a non-profit organization serving university students that is named after his brother, a Golani battalion commander who was killed in Lebanon in 1996.